Friday, 12 November 2004

Two sides of the Same Coin

My sister, who works for a large international corporation, passed me this from her corporate trainer:

Focus on Problems vs. Focus on Solutions

When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens wouldn't work at zero gravity (Ink won't flow down to the writing surface).In order to solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12 million. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C. And what did Russians do .......................................??

The Russians used a Pencil!!!

What is the story behind this?

I suppose the intended message is in the title: "Focus on Problems vs. Focus on Solutions"

My reflection on this:

If you can afford it, like NASA, you opened up new revenue streams by selling your new invention to other markets (under-water mining, pipe-laying...)

This is one of the problem with many today's top management: the term of their service - usually 5 years before they move on. With such short term focus, long term planning will suffer. This is hard decision: achieving your goal in limited budget, or allow risk in the hope of opening up new market. In some ways, this is why incumbent has opened up opportunity for disruptive technology to displace them!

No comments: